Nov. 04--A Blacksville volunteer firefighter is facing a misdemeanor charge after police say he and another firefighter helped an intoxicated driver flee the scene of a wreck.
Blacksville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bob Brookover said the firefighters helped the driver out of the car and the driver fled on his own.
Christopher M. Tennant, 44, of Fairview, was arrested on a charge of obstructing an officer by the Monongalia County Sheriff 's Department early Sunday morning. He was arranged in Monongalia County Magistrate Court and released on a personal recognizance bond.
According to his criminal complaint: Deputy B.S. Snider was dispatched to a wreck on Daybrook Road at about 3 a.m. Sunday morning. Dispatchers informed him there was a vehicle that hit a house and that the driver was inside the car.
En route to the scene, dispatchers told Snider the Blacksville Volunteer Fire Department told them the driver fled the scene.
At the wreck, the deputy spoke to the victim, who lived in the house struck by the car. The victim said the driver was Michael Simpson and that Simpson was highly intoxicated.
The victim also said that two firemen with the Blacksville department helped the driver out of the vehicle and helped Simpson leave the scene. The firefighters were identified as Tennant and Gary Simpson, the driver's brother.
Deputy Snider spoke to Tennant, who told him several different stories, "all of which were lies that interfered with my investigation," according to the report.
However, Brookover said that the incident was a big misunderstanding and, in his eyes, wasn't a big deal. The firefighters helped the man out of the car and then he left the scene on his own. They didn't have any idea the person fled.
Then the chaotic scene led to a misunderstanding, which led to the obstruction charge. Any discipline will be handled by the department, Brookover said.
"It will be handled internally," he said.
Brookover said he had no idea on a type of punishment because he was still gathering all the data and wasn't exactly sure about the details of the incident. The two men will continue in their roles as firefighters, he said.
The accident started when the driver hit a parked truck that was pushed into a wall that led to the living room of the home, Brookover said. He said the vehicle hit the garage, where responders helped the driver out.
Chief Deputy Perry Palmer said the other firefighter as well as the driver of the vehicle could face charges.
Copyright 2013 - The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va.